Clear Values Strengthen Stewardship

STEWARDS OF OUTREACH: MSU Associate Provost for University Outreach and Engagement Hiram Fitzgerald and former Vice Provost for University Outreach Robert Church and James Votruba discuss future directions at MSU's Benchmarking University Engagement Conference.

As a land-grant public research university, Michigan State has a covenant with society that entails unique responsibilities and expectations. In her first President's Address, on February 11, 2005, Lou Anna K. Simon spoke about the values implicit in those expectations:

  • We have a responsibility to serve as a catalyst for realizing upward mobility—the American dream—and for advancing the state and nation's economic competitiveness and quality of life.
  • We have a special responsibility to listen and respond to society's needs and to shape an intellectual agenda that addresses the issues facing global society today while anticipating and shaping the issues of tomorrow.
  • And we have a responsibility—an expectation—that we will marshal our intellect and our will to assure that our value to society globally and to those whose lives we touch directly will continue to grow and to appreciate over time, no matter what circumstances we face.

Good institutional stewardship encompasses both the articulation of core values—as Dr. Simon has done here—and the development of strategies for translating those values into action.

In turn, these action strategies are carried out according to values of their own, called standards of practice. As MSU faculty members work with communities and interest groups, they strive to respond to societal needs, actively participate in finding and sharing solutions, and build problem-solving capacity in constituent groups—for the benefit of all. Evaluation based on outcomes contributes to scholarship while providing real-world answers.

Responsive, participatory, capacity-building, mutually beneficial, evaluative—these are the values that drive the University's long-range strategic partnerships.

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